PORTLAND, ORE.—James (Jim) Johnson, president of locally-based distributor Wanke Cascade, passed away Sept. 18 following a short battle with cancer. He was 57.
A 23-year veteran of the flooring industry, Johnson joined Wanke Cascade in June 2008 and grew the company into one of the top respected distributors in the Pacific Northwest. Johnson set a seemingly radical goal for Wanke Cascade: “Never say no, find a solution to all situations that is fair for all.”
According to Ray Eppley, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, Johnson, throughout his battle with cancer, stayed in constant contact with management and sales staff as best he could right up to his passing.
“Jim brought a contagious energy to work with him every day,” Eppley said in a prepared statement. “His vast knowledge of the industry, combined with his sharp sense of humor, entrepreneurial spirit and unflappable work ethic made him an excellent leader. Jim led by example—he was a mentor to all and great communicator. He was a true inspiration to every [person in the company].”
Johnson was extremely passionate about Wanke Cascade, Eppley added. “He instilled a culture of taking control, making things happen and providing solutions for our customers. We will carry on this vision in all facets of our business. We are all better people and a better company for having him be a part of our lives. Jim will be remembered in many wonderful ways.”
Prior to joining Wanke Cascade, from 2006 to 2008 Johnson was owner and managing partner of Evergreen Sales Associates in Kirkland, Wash. Before that, from 1997 to 2006, he served as vice president, sales and marketing, of flooring distributor T&A Supply in the Pacific Northwest.
Johnson is survived by his wife, Cindy, and two sons, Adam and Kyle.